I like the delicacy of leek in soup and matched with nuts you can’t go wrong. Just remember that a soup without salt is like autumn without an apple. Always taste the soup three times before adding more salt, as it gives you a good indication of how the salt level will be when you sit down and eat a whole bowl. If you make lots of homemade stock at a time, it’s so much easier to whip up soup or risotto at short notice.
- 100 g butter, chopped
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 500 g floury potatoes (such as king edward), peeled, roughly chopped
- 1 thyme sprig
- hazelnut oil or walnut oil, sour cream (optional) and roasted chopped hazelnuts, to serve
- vegetable stock
- 1 onion, cut into eighths
- 1 carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
- 1 parsnip, peeled, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- handful mushroom stems
- 2 leek tops, washed, chopped
- 1 thyme sprig
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The stock here makes enough for the soup, but will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, or frozen for longer. Otherwise, use store-bought vegetable stock.
To make stock, place all ingredients and 2 litres of water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, skimming to remove impurities, then reduce heat to low and cook for 2 hours for flavours to infuse. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. You’ll need 1.5 litres of stock.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, for 12 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add potatoes, thyme and stock, bring to a simmer, then cook for 25 minutes or until potatoes are falling apart. Discard thyme. Transfer to a blender and blend to a purée. Strain through a sieve into the saucepan and season with salt and pepper.
Divide soup among bowls, drizzle with oil and dollop with sour cream, if desired. Serve scattered with nuts.
Photography Alan Benson. Food preparation Asher Gilding. Styling Michelle Crawford.
As seen in Feast magazine, April 2014, Issue 30.